Politicians and Insurance

One of the benefits I have is working for the state is supposed to have better benefits and insurance.  When I started working for the state, I never paid for anything. 

Since Act 10 was sent through, I’ve lost pay and benefits.  Last year when my husband and I both had health issues, I ended up with a couple thousand dollars of bills to pay.  Not enough to itemize on my taxes but very much a burden on our budget.  Now this year I went to the ER for a kidney stone.  It was my first one so I had no idea what was going on. 

I got the bill.  Next time I’m staying home and not paying for all the crap.  Again, I’ve been with the state since 2006.  In that time we’ve had to make trips to the ER.  This time I got a bill over and above my co-pay.  The co-pay I believe was $75.  The bill – was nearly $900.  Then I had to do a follow up with a doctor.  That cost me more money.  The doctor wanted me to come back for a second visit.  I set it up but really after I got the bills for the ER and doctor visits, I knew I could not afford another CT scan and doctor’s visit.  I canceled both.

I pay over $200 a month for my husband and I to have insurance.  Back when we were first together, we had insurance that was 80% /20% which meant for every medical thing the insurance paid 80% and we paid 20%.  We had three little kids.  Having this insurance drove us into bankruptcy because we had so many bills between the kids, my broken leg and three surgeries, and some of Ken’s stuff.  Now I’m looking at the same situation with my supposedly better benefits. 

I’m left thinking it’s better to stay home and cope with whatever the problems are rather than going to the doctor or to ER because the cost of it will drive us quickly into a place I don’t want to go.  My choice is to have this crappy insurance which I’m paying for every month and not go for more than checkups.  There’s now co-pays on everything. Beyond the co-pays, I’m getting bills for things the insurance isn’t covering.  There’s no money in the budget for this.  I’m still paying for last years medical bills. 

It’s no wonder the state can’t fill positions.  They’ve lost the edge of having better benefits and strong unions to protect the workers.  Now the state has become a crappy employer where the benefits are sub standard and the pay is mediocre.  It has become an employer who abuses their employees by calling them names and blaming them for the fiscal problems which are caused by mismanagement at the upper levels.  It’s no wonder they can’t get guards for the prisons or keep faculty in the universities or keep clerical workers.  Businesses are offering better everything with less abuse.

The politicians better wake up.  They better start looking at the good of their employees or they won’t be able to run the state.  I’d like to see the governor go into the prisons to be an officer or walk into a classroom and teach students.  I’d like to see our legislators spend 40 hours a week doing clerical work or maintenance or janitorial.  The politicians (on all levels) are great at looking out for them but they suck at looking out for the best interests of the people – which should be their biggest concern.

It’s time to wake up and remember that this is a collaborative affair.  The politician govern at the will of the people.  If they aren’t serving the people, they need to go.  Whatever elections are out there, please go vote.  Please voice your opinion and make yourself heard. 

Money Money Money

I’m looking at an 11% plus cut in my pay due to Governor Walker and that is on top of the 3% I already took with the furloughs.  This is significant as it will put me from making it to not making it.  I’m a public employee and proud to be serving the public.  I do the best I can in my job, helping as many people as I can regardless of what they are asking of me.  I don’t just say that isn’t my area I can’t do it.  I say it isn’t my area but let me see who could help you.  I did this when I worked at the DMV, BPD and now at the University.
Unfortunately this is not seen or appreciated by those in power.  My bosses have appreciated me and given me pats on the back but the legislature and governor apparently can’t be bothered to promote workers. 
I don’t know Scott Walker at all.  I didn’t vote for him.  I don’t like his way of treating people.  I find him arrogant and irresponsible.  He is not a person I would choose to run anything let alone our state.  However, now that he is in power I have to deal with the fall out. 
For me this means, we are no longer going to have any cash to spend on anything other than the absolute necessities.  We may even be looking at dropping services. I’m not sure what we will have to sacrifice but something will have to go.  I may have to drop my insurance – if that is allowed mid-year.  Other options are to drop cell phones or cable… I’m not sure what else.
This will not mean tightening our belts.  It will mean that we are doing without.  I was working on paying off my credit card debt but we may have to let our credit rating tank in order to pay for our basics with this type of drastic cut in pay.  
I know the propaganda out there is that state workers make six figures and they don’t do anything.  There probably are a few who are like that.  However, the majority of state workers are not that well off.   Between my husband and I we don’t make six figures.  We are not living high off the hog.  We get paid.  I pay the bills.  The money is gone.  There is no emergency fund. There is no huge retirement fund.  There is no savings.  It is just us working to pay our bills. 
Does Scott Walker understand that is how most of the state employees are?  Does he understand that we are just like all the other workers in Wisconsin who are struggling to stay afloat during these difficult economic times?